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It's natural to look to the investing greats (think: Buffett) for guidance and know-how, but sometimes there are equally strong and inspiring lessons to learn from those who have built exceptional businesses that you might not expect. Top of our list this month: Drake.

The following article first appeared on RBC Direct Investing’s Inspired Investor content hub on May 31, 2018.

You don’t have to be a hip-hop fan to appreciate the amazing phenomenon that is Aubrey Drake Graham — better known as just Drake. The 31-year-old native Torontonian came from humble beginnings — or, you know, Started from the Bottom — to become a local and global force in music, sports, entertainment and even philanthropy. It’s inspiring stuff, with a range of lessons for many of life’s endeavours, including investing.

Explore: There’s Always “Room for Improvement

Drizzy’s first big break came when, in 2001 at the age of 15, he landed a role on the Canadian teen drama Degrassi: The Next Generation. While making a name for himself during his seven-year stint on the show, Drake started to dabble in the world of music. In 2006, he self-released Room for Improvement, his debut mixtape. Then came Comeback Season, which featured the music and video hit Replacement Girl — exceptional because Drake was still an independent (and Canadian!) artist without a major label.

As you know better than most, self-directed investors aren’t afraid to take initiative, explore, learn. After all, there’s always Room for Improvement, right? There are always risks, certainly, but it’s all about finding your comfort level so you can explore investing options that are right for you. Then you can figure out how much you can stretch your comfort zone to meet your goals. (A little practice never hurts, either! A practice account lets you try out different investment strategies and transactions with $100,000 in risk-free practice money.)

Know Yourself (Even Drake Says So!)

From the early days, Drake’s music career took off after signing with a major label and releasing a series of critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums. Between his first studio album Thank Me Later (2010) and chart-record-breaking Views (2016), Drake achieved icon status, carving out a niche as the sensitive rapper, a Canadian megastar, and an idiosyncratic dancer to boot. And who could forget his moves in the video for Hotline Bling? As CBC pointed out, they “instantly caus[ed] a sensation, countless GIFs and an online meme featuring his exaggerated dance moves.”

Sensitive or not, if you’re a self-directed investor, you know all about “knowing yourself.” It’s a key principle when it comes to carving your own investing path. It helps to know your core values, identify your strengths and run with them. That means knowing what type of investor you are, setting goals and understanding what types of investments will help you achieve them.

Grow & Evolve

Finally, consider Drake’s unfaltering love of basketball and particularly the Toronto Raptors. He recently joined forces with the team to pledge $1 million for court refurbishments and $2 million to help Canada Basketball over the next five years. Along with a commitment to investing in his community, Drake models a relentless push toward new frontiers. “The key is always to grow. The key is always to evolve,” Drake said at a news conference for the basketball announcement.

Learning and growing…hallmarks of do-it-yourself investing, right? We constantly push forward, read, research and consider new points of view. Hmm, what other Drake song titles can we take inspiration from here? Maybe “Energy,” “Successful,” “The Motto”…take your pick!

Is There More?

Drake, of course, is not only a talented artist. According to National Public Radio, he also showed real business acumen with his next release in 2017. “Drake cast a wide net with More Life, both artistically and in his business decisions around it. Between wider distribution, an expanded palette of global sounds and a digital world of instant availability, the weather conditions were perfect…by design,” wrote music journalist Andrew Flanagan.

We always want more as investors, don’t we? Of course! We want to see our portfolios grow as much as possible to get us to that goal as quickly as possible, be it vacation, retirement or the dock of our new cottage.

Still not convinced we can learn a thing or two from Drake? Well here’s one last little milestone on his journey to inspire you. Drake recently tied for fourth in Forbes’ 2018 list of hip-hop’s wealthiest artists — at a cool US$100 million. (Drake tied with rapper Eminem on the list, which was topped by Jay-Z’s whopping US$900 million fortune.)

Maybe if investing doesn’t work out we should all pick up a mic. Hey, there’s always more.

Inspired Investor, RBC Direct Investing’s content hub, made its debut last spring on the RBC Direct Investing website. Featuring personal stories, timely information and expert insights, Inspired Investor offers clients inspiration, investment learning and how-tos – with the ultimate goal of empowering self-directed investors through content that connects with their everyday lives.
Visit RBC Direct Investing to find out more about self-directed investing.